Former Supreme Court justice Lord Sumption is among those who have hit out at the punishment, asking why it is harsher than sentences for firearms and child sexual offences.
Meanwhile, just five of the 196 £10,000 lockdown fines issued in England have been paid. According to snapshot figures from early January, 53 were being formally contested, 42 had been ignored, and 96 still had time left to pay.
Germany to extend lockdown
Germany plans to extend restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus until March 14, a draft agreement for talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel and leaders of the 16 federal states on Wednesday showed.
The number of new daily infections in Germany has been falling, leading some regional leaders to push for a timetable to ease the lockdown, but concerns are growing about the impact of more infectious strains of the virus on case numbers.
“We have a highly fragile situation,” Winfried Kretschmann, Greens premier of the southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, told Spiegel Online. “We can see in other countries, such as Portugal, how quickly the tide can turn.”
The draft document for the talks, which start in the afternoon, says that hairdressers could reopen under strict conditions from March 1. The draft is subject to change.
Mr Shapps praised the care NHS staff are giving his father as he battles Covid
Transport Secretary’s father on Covid ward in hospital
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has revealed that his father is on a coronavirus ward in hospital, and has been for “quite some time”.
“The work they (NHS staff) do is incredible, I speak to them every single day, of course, we have not been able to visit my dad for two months now,” he told Good Morning Britain.
“What they have been doing for nearly a year now has been extraordinary and, as you said, it has, of course, been worse now, even though numbers are coming down in hospital.
“And the one good piece of news we had yesterday is my father was transferred from a larger Covid ward to a slightly smaller one.
“We said ‘Well, what’s going on here?’ And they said that ‘Actually we are starting to see a reduction in patients’.
“But even now, even with that reduction, it’s still higher than it was in the first peak so we are not out of this yet, we just need to adhere to the lockdown and to the rules to stop more people ending up in those hospitals.”
Charles and Camilla get vaccine
The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall have been given the first of the two jabs
Too soon to book holidays, says Shapps
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it is “too soon” for hopeful travellers to start booking holidays.
“First of all, I should say, people shouldn’t be booking holidays right now – not domestically or internationally,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“The Prime Minister will say more about the route to unlocking this country, starting when he speaks about it on February 22.
“But we don’t know yet whether that will include information on things like holidays, simply because we don’t know where we’ll be up to in terms of the decline in cases, deaths, vaccination.
“And not just the vaccination programme here, but the vaccination programme internationally, because people will be going outside of our borders.
“So it’s too soon.”
WHO calls for fair access to vaccines
Access to coronavirus vaccines needs to be “fair and equitable” among countries, a World Health Organisation (WHO) official said.
Dr Siddhartha Datta, WHO Europe’s programme manager for vaccine-preventable disease and immunisation, told Sky News that 37 countries in the WHO European region have rolled out Covid-19 jabs.
He said: “The lower-middle income countries and the lower income countries of our region are falling behind.”
Dr Datta added: “If you say that whether we should be concerned, the answer is yes, the inequity in the vaccine rollout is evident.”
He said efforts were being made to ensure people got access to a vaccine, such as through the Covax mechanism.
Dr Datta said: “Fair and equitable access to this global public good, as we say, is paramount.
“And I think we have to ensure and make sure that we do have mechanisms that a country irrespective of its income level gets access to this vaccine.
“Just keeping us safe will not keep everybody safe.”
Shapps defends 10 year jail term threat
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has defended the threat of a 10-year jail sentence for travellers who try to conceal journeys from high-risk countries, saying the British public “would expect pretty strong action”.
“It’s up to 10 years, it’s a tariff, it’s not necessarily how long somebody would go to prison for,” he told BBC Breakfast.
“But I do think it is serious if people put others in danger by deliberately misleading and saying that you weren’t in Brazil or South Africa, or one of the red list countries, which as you say does include Portugal.
“But I think the British public would expect pretty strong action because we’re not talking now just about, ‘oh there’s a lot of coronavirus in that country and you might bring some more of it back when we already have plenty of it here’.
“What we’re talking about now are the mutations, the variants, and that is a different matter, because we don’t want to be in a situation where we later on discover that there’s a problem with vaccines.”
London’s rate of new cases has dropped behind northern regions
Labour’s shadow home secretary criticises “limited” border quarantine measures
The Government’s new border quarantine measures are “too limited”, Labour’s shadow home secretary has said.
Speaking to Times Radio, Nick Thomas-Symonds commented: “I feel they are too limited. I think we are in a race against time.
“We should be doing everything we can to guard against that prospect of having a mutant strain of the virus reaching our shores from overseas that really damages our vaccine efficacy, our vaccine rollout.
“And to do that, we need that comprehensive system that I’ve been arguing for.
“Of course, it would be subject to exceptions, like hauliers, and there’s another list that already exists of quarantine exceptions.
“But we need that comprehensive system. We need it urgently and we can’t afford to continue to be behind the curve in the way this Government has.”
Grieve slams 10-year jail terms for those who lie on passenger locator forms
Former Conservative attorney general Dominic Grieve described the 10-year jail terms for travellers who try to conceal journeys from high-risk countries as a mistake.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “Ten years is entirely disproportionate, and I was trying to work out why this figure had been plucked out of the air.
“This is a regulatory offence, and no regulatory offence I can think of attracts a 10-year sentence.
“The reality is that nobody would get such a sentence anyway, the courts are simply not going to impose it.
“To suggest that a 10-year sentence is going to result from a false declaration on a form on landing at Heathrow Airport is, I think, a mistake because it’s exaggerated, it’s not going to happen.
“It’s a mistake of the Government to suggest something which is not going to happen.”
— to www.standard.co.uk